What does a witness on a wedding do?

Witnesses play a key role in a wedding. Without witnesses, no wedding. Have you been asked to be a witness, but have no idea what this entails? Or do you want to ask someone to be your witness, but would like to know exactly what he or she will be doing? The role of the witness; demystified right here. 

The role: wedding witness

You can make the role of the witness as big or as small as you like. What being a witness entails, is actually already in the name itself. To witness, or to approve the marriage. Technically the most important task of the witness is to sign the wedding certificate. With that the witness gives his or her approval of the marriage. In a religious wedding the witness does not have an active role to play. 
Before the wedding can take place, the bridal couple should also give a notice of marriage. The notice of marriage or civil partnership is a legal statement which both parties must sign. It states the full names, birth dates, marital status, addresses, occupation and nationality of the people intending to marry or form a civil partnership. The intended venue for the wedding ceremony is also on it.
Read more about what do after I'm engaged. Check here for an example marriage certificate.

The only mandatory task for the witnesses is to put their signature on the marriage certificate. Although it's a small task, it's a honorable one with a deep meaning. As a witness you help legalize the marriage! Between two and four witnesses may be chosen. This can differ per state and country, so inform beforehand how many witnesses you're allowed to have. The witnesses must be adults. So if you wanted to select your little brother or sister as a wedding witness, that unfortunately is not allowed. You could include the latter in a more symbolic way by having them sign a fake custom designed wedding certificate.


If you're the witness, you can also decide to give a wedding speech. This is absolutely not a must, but it is done pretty often. Give your speech for example during lunch, dinner or on the wedding party.

Other duties

Besides all this it's customary the witness, just like all other guests will give the wedding couple a gift. A witness is sometimes also asked to bring the rings to the wedding. This is different than being the ring bearer who actually brings the rings to the altar. Still looking for original ideas for your ring pillow? Check out some awesome ideas for original ring pillow alternatives. 

Who will you pick as your witness?

Being a witness is an honorable duty. So make to choose one or two witnesses that are really close to you. Someone that's special to you. For example, you sister, brother or maybe one of your parents and a friend.

Who will you pick as your witness? Let us know in the comments!

Guests  Witness  

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